With President Joe Biden’s latest covid measures of providing 100 million vaccines in 100 days have already begun, the tribal people of America are also included in the process.
Tribal leaders and their natives from different parts of America have addressed their community about the importance of getting vaccines even though they have deep-rooted fears in the U.S government and medical establishments.
Cherokee Strives Complete Vaccination For The Community Health
While it’s only been a week since Biden’s vaccine distribution is taking place and many states are still struggling with insufficient supply, the Cherokee nation has encouraged its members to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
The first to undergo the treatment were the ones who spoke the language itself ie; Cherokee speakers who were said to be one of the most endangered members of the tribe.
With a population of 3,85,000 Cherokee nation’s leader, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said in a zoom call from the Oklahoma reservation center that they placed the fluent Cherokee speakers most of whom are seniors of the community for vaccination.
He mentioned the importance of preserving their traditional language which is why elder members were given more priority.
The Director of Seattle’s Urban Indian Health Institute, Abigal Echo-Hawk talked about the oppression of tribal people.
She stated that many Native American women who were injected with various vaccines in the 1960s and 1970s are still leading healthy lives.
A nationwide survey conducted by Echo-Hawk showed that an estimated 75% of Native Americans prefer to be vaccinated as they wish to achieve collective immunity to easily fight the virus.
The survey summary stated that the reason they were willing to be vaccinated was due to the strong feeling of responsibility to protect the community and preserve their culture for a longer time, for which they needed to be healthy and immune.
It is also said that even though they were reluctant to get vaccines due to the past and present abuse by various government authorities, the Cherokee’s strong sense of their community’s welfare motivated them to fight against the virus together.
By Wednesday, Cherokee has been able to vaccinate around 12,000 people.
Hoskin stated that when the elderly members got vaccinated, it helped many others especially the younger members to gain the courage for vaccination as it made them feel like their ancestors supported them.
He also said that not all the senior members were of ages above 65 as the Indian Health Service which is more of a federal agency includes people aged 65 in its vaccine list.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Cherokee tribe is also said to be the most affected tribal community due to pandemic.
CDC also reported that Native Americans are more prone to infection and death from covid-19 than white people.
Echo-Hawk added by saying that most Native Americans are forced to live in crowded households. They are also denied medical care and insurance making them.
Vice-Chairman of the Muckleshoot tribe, Donny Stevenson stated that the tribe had strictly followed the covid guidelines which resulted in decreased community spread.
Stevenson also said that 3,300 members of the tribe have been vaccinated so far.